When Alex White Plume planted a field full of industrial-grade hemp, he hoped that his crop might lift his family and community out of poverty. Then the DEA came to Pine Ridge.
Alex White Plume called it his "field of dreams": an acre and a half of plants so tall and strong they seemed to touch the sky; a crop representing hope for a new and self-sufficient life for his family, residents of the desperately impoverished Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
But on Aug. 24, 2000 at sunrise, just four days before White Plume and his neighbors planned to harvest their bounty, White Plume awoke to the sounds of helicopters. He looked out the window and saw a convoy of vehicles heading for his field.
He raced down to investigate, and was met by a slew of black-clad and heavily armed figures -- 36 agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the US Marshal's office.
When White Plume rolled down the window of his pick-up to ask what was going on, he says, one US marshal pointed a gun in his face. Meanwhile, the other agents chopped down each plant near the roots and hauled them away.
Alex White Plume's field after the raid.
You see, White Plume was growing industrial hemp, a botanical cousin of marijuana, in that field. According to tests conducted later by the BIA, White Plume's hemp contained only trace amounts of the psychoactive element THC. But U.S. drug laws do not distinguish between marijuana (which has a higher THC content) and other kinds of hemp, and growing either is illegal.
(Although, unlike its policies on marijuana possession federal law permits the possession or sale of mature stalks, fiber, and products made from hemp fiber and hemp seed oil; you just can't grow the stuff.)
Still, the raid at Pine Ridge wasn't your typical drug bust. The Oglala Sioux tribal government, which passed a resolution allowing White Plume to plant his crop, argues that the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 gave Pine Ridge absolute sovereign status as an independent nation. The BIA, however, says Pine Ridge enjoys only "limited" sovereignty: While the tribe has its own government, constitution, and laws, it is subject to some federal oversight.
The sovereignty enjoyed by Indian nations in the United States is inherent to the Indian tribes. This means that the Creator granted sovereignty to the tribes, not the federal government or the Congress.The federal government has acknowledged the inherent nature of tribal sovereignty in the U. S. Constitution.
Today, tribal sovereignty is exercised by Indian nations in efforts to fulfill basic governmental obligations, including providing for the general welfare of its members, developing economies within its jurisdiction, and creating the governmental institutions by which local control and input are the foundation for tribal community prosperity.
Beginning in the early 1990's CNIGA adopted a policy and made a commitment to educating state elected officials, local governments and federal representatives about California Indians and tribal government gaming.
Since the last Indian mentioned in a California textbook died in 1880, we realized that we would need to educate Californians at all levels not only that Indians still exist and have contemporary lives, but that we have sovereign government status. We were not surprised in the beginning of our educational outreach to learn that very few Californians knew Indians and reservations exist in the state, or that we still struggle to overcome poverty and the bitter circumstances of the past. Even more shocking to people not familiar with Indians was that we wanted to achieve the self-governance, promised us in the U.S. Constitution, court decisions and federal policy.
The critical issue was and will continue to be the recognition of tribal government status, jurisdiction and political rights as equal to the state's authority. Understanding that the state cannot and does not have the automatic right to dictate to tribal governments, as it does all other governments in this state, is the lesson that all Californians are grappling with. The extent that other governments come to respect our sovereignty will depend on many factors, but one will certainly be public recognition of tribal sovereignty and its historical basis.
The goal of the CNIGA Public Relations Committee is constant communication. Communication is also hearing and responding with understanding to concerned and interested parties from neighbors to local and state government officials, as well as getting our story and point of view across.
We have learned through our public relations efforts, that when we articulate whom we are and what we are trying to achieve, people listen and support us. Indians and non-Indians can get beyond old stereotypes, old history and prejudice. Ignorance is only our enemy and oppressor if we allow it to exist.
So we are vigilant in weeding out ignorance wherever it may be growing.
We exist to prevent and expose misinformation, misrepresentation and ignorance about Indian people, tribal government and sovereignty.
By Anthony R. Pico, Chairman CNIGA Public Relations Committeehttp://www.cniga.com/media/index.php
The California Nations would like to extend a special thank you to the following companies and organizations. Their support, expertise and generosity has helped make CNIGA more efficient, organized and successful...http://www.cniga.com/sponsors.php
PurMedia, Inc. (pronounced Pure Media) is an agency that provides custom creative and technology solutions to Native American Tribes. They deliver successful products that surpass client expectation and maximize initial investment return.
VCAT provides consulting services to support and facilitate Tribal business. They act as the Tribal Council's ally in identifying, organizing, managing and capitalizing businesses. The Drug War Comes To The Rez (linx)White Plumes Relinquish Hemp Crop Sioux vs. DEA, Round Two Marijuana Crops Raided Tribe Gets Hemp Gift Give Us Back Our Hemp! CN: The Drug War Comes To The RezCannabis News Search: Pine Ridge 8
"We the People are the rightful master of both congress and the courts - not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
Abraham LincolnHemp Aid 99 Rainbow Farm! Was Rainbow Farm Another Waco? The War Against Hemp South Dakota Plants HempSeeds of Hope Growing Pains
"The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens; Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands And surprise in your eyes that we're lacking in thanks For the blessings of civilization you've brought us, The lessons you've taught us, the ruin you've wrought us -- Oh see what our trust in America's brought us..."
"Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory, Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy Pitying the blindness that you've never seen That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory They were never no more than carrion crows, Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story; The mockingbird sings it, it's all that he knows..."
"Ah what can I do?" say a powerless few...
With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye --
Can't you see that their poverty's profiting you..."MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THY PEOPLE YOU'RE DYING!
Buffy Sainte-Marie (early 1960s)NOW THAT THE BUFFALO'S GONE
Indigenous Environmental Network http://www.ienearth.org
"During the past years, many North American Indigenous communities and tribes have demonstrated unmet needs and concerns with unsustainable mining practices on and near Indigenous lands within North America. "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oct. 25, 2001 http://www.ienearth.org/mining_campaign2.html
letter to Congress from Sec.of Interior, Gale Norton, on revised regulations governing hardrock mining on Public lands. http://www.ienearth.org/norton1030.html
(.pdf format) http://www.ienearth.org/norton1030.pdf
"The elders and national council of IEN approved the development of an education campaign that would educate ... on how U.S. President Bush's Energy Policy and Plan would affect Native peoples ... Historically, U.S. energy policies have been at the expense of Native peoples and our tribes.
Scientific evidence now suggests what indigenous peoples have expressed for a long time: life as we know it is in danger. ... "accumulation of greenhouses gases commits the sacred Earth irreversibly to further global climate change and consequent ecological, economic, social and spiritual disruption". Climate imbalance will cause the greatest suffering to the indigenous peoples and most pristine ecosystems globally.Revolution, Hemp Style Now
Cannabis News Hemp Linkshttp://freedomtoexhale.com/hls.htm
CannabisNews Hemp Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/hemp.shtmlCannabis/Hemp Info/LinksUrgent Warning about Industrial Hemp...Drug Czar Seeks To Ban All Hemp ProductsCanadian Company Cites NAFTA to Sue US Felony Foods - Bush’s DEA Criminalizes Hemp The Drug Czar's View of Edible Hemp
STATE AUDITOR'S REPORT SAYS...FEDERAL MARIJUANA ERADICATION PROGRAM SEIZES NOTHING BUT DITCHWEEDAnnual Ditchweed Eradication Boondoggle Underway AgainDitchweed Update: DEA NumbersSpraying Ditchweed Devastate Midwest Game Birds State Patrol on prowl for ditchweed harvestersThe Ganjawar on the EnvironmentSpraying Misery Genetic fungusPoison Pot